Change Management WalkMe TeamUpdated December 8, 2021

Leading Organizational Change – Extensive Guide

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Leading Organizational Change – Extensive Guide

When it comes to leading organizational change, most companies and managers tend to have a fear of the overall process involved. This is due to various causes including employees’ reticence of adopting new technology, a decrease in the amount of customers noticed during the first few months of change and so on. However, when done properly, organizational change can prove to have outstanding results for a certain business and even help it place in the front of many others in its niche.

Organizations do not change for change’s sake but because they are part of a broader development process and must react to the new changes in the environment, restrictions, requirements and opportunities that arise in this area. In turn, for the process of adapting to organizational change, people must change and they must acquire new knowledge, tackle new tasks and boost their degree of competence. Additionally, very often, they must change their work habits, values ​​and attitudes to the working of organizations. Changing values ​​and attitudes is essential; perhaps there can be no real change without a change in attitude.

In solving this problem, management should develop a set of rational strategies using resources and respect limitations dictated by the context in which and operate. the case in which context changes they resort to other rational strategies to adapt to the new context. This is the only way the only way in which this system works and can identify sources of resistance to the change process and methods of solving them.

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You need to stop thinking at what tasks employees are aware of and seek to change the context in which they operate and thus formulate your own rational strategies to lead them to do desired things. Only you can change the outcome of the process.

Types of Change 

Changes are set on a scale of complexity, from incremental to transformational.

Transformational changes are those that relate to asking employees other things than the one they are used with: a research organization, a helping company, a sales organization. An expert in the field of engineering, medicine and IT is required to handle administration tasks such as Sales or Administration, must have proper knowledge and must have invested adequate resources. Transformational change refers to an evolution towards a future state, which was defined in terms of the vision and strategic scope, covering the purpose and mission of the organization and its philosophy in terms of issues such as development, innovation and human values as well as technologies used.

Incremental change is the one that needs to be done immediately and the one in which the managers have to involve the most. Various aspects need to be taken into account here from changing the overall business mentality to software integration.

Leading Organizational Change – Models and Extensive Guide

Kurt Lewin’s Model of Leading Organizational Change

He explained the issue by analyzing the changes that take place in the work field. The model has been taken up in 1980 by E. Schein and converted to organizational reality. Lewin sees changes as a dynamic balance of forces, on the one hand, and pressure applied to the process, on the other hand. This leads to an overall resistance to change.

This process involves various steps as outlined below:

“Defrosting” represents the current state of balance, which stands as a support for existing behaviors and attitudes. This process must take into account the threats posed by change in front of people, and the need to motivate them to reach those affected by the acceptance of change. It can be achieved by introducing information that allow for a comparison between the desired situation and the actual cause of change.

The change refers to the creation one-side basis of new information, transformation that allows individuals to approach the desired situation.

“Refrosting” is stabilization through the introduction of new reactions change in personality involved. Regarding elements that cause change, Lewin described them as:

  •  Technological changes
  •  Epistemological bursts
  •  Significant improvements of working conditions
  •  Changing the structure of the workforce

 Change elements can be grouped according to 

  •  Old Mentality
  •  Mental blocks
  •  Disinterest
  •  Fear of doing again
  •  Fear of failure
  •  Low level of professionalism

J. Beckhard Model for Leading Organizational Change

Another specialist, J. Beckhard (1969) found that a change process should include the following activities:

  •  Setting goals and defining a future state
  •  A diagnosis of the present situation, in relation to these objectives
  •  A definition that lies in actions during the transition and the commitments and decisions to reach in the future state
  •  A development of strategies and action plans to manage the transition, in light of the analysis of factors likely to affect the introduction of change

The Chin and Benne (1976) model – Main causes of change and the process involved in leading organizational change

This model answers the question “How do we implement change?”

The answer to this question may be:

  • Empirical-rational – employees accept change if they are demonstrating that it is for their benefit, they exhibit both order change, act and intervention plan and organizational mechanisms used
  • Normative re educational – change is implemented gradually in time without attracting individuals, but by gradually replacing old rules new rules, not resistance
  •  Coercive – change management is required by virtue of the power in that it owns. Employees are neglected, nonconformity attract sanctions

References critical of this model refers to the translation of leadership styles change reality.

Thurley’s model (1979) 

Thurley described these five approaches to managing change:

  •  Direct approach – is necessary in crisis situations. This is done through the exercise of managerial power without consultation.
  • Negotiated approach – power divides between employees and the change required by negotiation, compromise and agreement;
  •  The “body and soul” – aims and committed visions, but it does not have to resort to involvement or participation.
  •  Action-based approach – begins with a general belief that there is a problem. Identify solutions by successive attempt to clarify the problem and lead to its understanding.

Bandura’s model (1986)

Bandura described the ways in which employees act in the change: they use information from the environment in which they live in order to determine options;

Options are based on: 

  • Things that are important to them
  •  Opinion they have about their ability to behave in an certain way
  •  Consider the consequences that will have for the behavior that I decided to adopt him

In other words, in order to change employee behavior you must change the environment in which it operates and convince them that the new behavior is something that can be achieved. You also need to convince them that the new behavior will lead to a result of value to them.

R. A. Weber (1989) model

Weber in his “Management: Basic Elements of Managing Organizations” believes that there is a dichotomy of change: changing people or situation. The problem does not actually rely in changing the shape of an application, but in what order it should be done.

G. Cole’s (1996) management model

The proposed model is an amalgam of theories of change and defeats in the mechanisms of resistance to change.
Analysis of the environmental situation (internal and external) leads to the identification of generators of change, which have a central role in decision making to achieve the necessary changes. Once taken decisions, managers allocate resources and responsibilities.

They will involve the employees in the bargaining process and training and will set goals and deadlines for implementation of change. Once the change is implemented, managers will review the progress recorded and will take corrective measures where necessary.


Changing needs support from the highest level in an organization. It seems natural to be in an inverse relationship between the interest of middle-managers for change and the need for it. To manage or accept a change process, you must be aware of its implications and have the courage to take risks. Therefore, the reasons why companies choose to make organizational changes are related to the success of the change process. Changes are neither good nor bad, but the way in which they are implemented and managed is crucial for the company and its members.

When identifying attitudes towards change, change direction or issues posed by transformation is the first step in planning organizational change. The change process has 5 main phases: preparation phase, diagnosis phase, planning phase, implementation phase and impact assessment phase. While the first 3 phases can be assessed with the aid of Bandura’s or J. Beckhard’s model, the last 2 phases can be successfully implemented by following Chin and Benne or Thurley’s approaches. All these are of crucial in the topic of leading organizational change and should be implemented by following company’s guidelines and structure carefully.

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